Queers Against Israeli Apartheid has announced its plans to participate in Toronto’s Pride parade this year.
Last year, the city of Toronto tried to use QuAIA as a scapegoat for cutting Pride funding, so QuAIA voluntarily skipped the parade. Instead, QuAIA dropped a banner over the Wellesley subway station reading “Support Palestinian Queers, Boycott Israeli Tourism”. QuAIA also organized events to expose to the Queer community Israel’s “pinkwashing” of apartheid policies—promoting itself as a progressive, gay friendly tourism destination to distract from its human rights abuses.
Toronto’s city council will be voting in June on providing a grant of $123,807 to Pride Toronto. Budget Chief Mike Del Grande has shared with the media that QuAIA’s decision to march this year may put the funding in jeopardy. It was also announced that the council plans to review its anti-discrimination policy.
But council has no basis to cut Pride funding. The city managers report last year stated that the term “Israeli apartheid” is not hate speech, and QuAIA is not in contravention of the any law or the anti-discrimination policy. QuAIA is a legitimate group that supports Palestinian queers who have no rights under Israel’s apartheid policies.
This year’s theme for Pride is “Celebrate and Demonstrate”. Pride has always been a political event, and the queer community is getting back to those roots.
If you like this article, come to the three-day political conference Marxism 2012, May 25-27 in Toronto, which includes the talk “The red in the rainbow: socialists and queer liberation.”